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India to launch heavier satellite from Kourou on Dec 4

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India will launch Dec 4 a heavier and advanced communication satellite (GSAT-16) with 48 transponders on board an European rocket from Kourou spaceport in French Guiana, South America, a senior space agency official said Wednesday.

“We are getting ready to launch GSAT-16 Dec 4 on an Ariane-5 rocket of the European space agency Arianespace with 48 transponders, including 24 in C band, 12 in Ku band and 12 in extended C-band,” Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) satellite centre director S. Shiva Kumar told reporters here.

The 3.1-tonne GSAT-16 will be placed at 55 degrees east over India in the geo-stationary orbit, about 36,000 km above the earth.

The satellite is the 11th among GSAT series and 24th geo-stationary communication satellite with a lifespan of 12 years.

The transponders, which receive and transmit radio signals at high frequency (36MHz), will be used for various communication services, including VSATs (very small aperture terminals), television broadcasting, civil aviation and back-up.

“The transponders will be used by private industry and state-run agencies for their diverse communication needs,” Kumar said.

As GSAT-16 will be launched from an overseas spaceport (Kourou) using a procured rocket, the space agency has insured it for Rs.865 crore.

“GSAT-16 will replace the INSAT-3E, which expired in April,” Kumar added.INSAT-3E was also launched from Kourou onboard Ariane-5G Sep 29, 2003.

With a total of 168 transponders in the C, extended C and Ku-bands, the INSAT and GSAT series of satellites provide services to telecom, television broadcasting, weather forecasting, disaster warning and search and rescue operations.

The space agency, however, launched GSAT-14 from its spaceport Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, about 90 km northeast of Chennai, January 5, 2014, using its heavy rocket — Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D5) with an indigenous cryogenic engine.

The nearly two-tonne GSAT-14, with six extended C-band and Ku-bandAtransponders and two Ka-band beacons is being used for telemedicine and tele-education services.

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